• March 21 down the years

A legend is born

What happened on March 21 in Formula One history?

Legend Ayrton Senna was born in Brazil; he was born Ayrton Senna da Silva, he chose to use his mother's maiden name - Senna - for his racing career, as Silva is a very common name in Brazil. His first vehicle was a 1hp kart, a gift to his sister Viviane, which she didn't want. He was a genius, a tyrant, a benevolent and humble person, yet arrogant too, a man who divided opinion like no other. But there was one thing that no one could deny: he was the fastest driver the world has ever seen.

The Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Sepang circuit; Michael Schumacher took pole position and went onto win the race. The event also saw Britain's Jenson Button stand on the podium for the first time, finishing in third position.

Controversy hit the Brazilian Grand Prix; Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg finished first and second, only to be disqualified because their cars were underweight. The final podium saw Alain Prost take the win, with British drivers John Watson and Nigel Mansell second and third. The race also marked Rene Arnoux's 50th F1 start.

Spanish racing driver Paco Godia was born in Barcelona. He competed sporadically in Formula One, between 1951 and 1958, driving in 13 championship races. He was a collector of fine art and founded a museum in Barcelona. Since his death in 1990 the museum has housed a collection of his motorsport memorabilia.

British racing driver Ken Wharton, who competed in 15 grands prix between 1952 and 1955, was born. Prior to his Formula One career he was a prolific hillclimb driver; to this day he is the only man to have won four consecutive British Hillclimb championships, holding the title from 1951 to 1954. He was killed driving a Ferrari Monza, at the Ardmore circuit in New Zealand, in 1957.

British driver George Abecassis was born. A garage owner and one of the founders of the HWM team, he competed in two grands prix in 1951 and 1952. He started racing in 1934 in a modified Austin 7, making a name for himself in British club racing.

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